Mennonite Women USA
March 2015 
Noteworthy News

March is Women's History Month and March 8 was the 107th International Women's Day. Check out the Women for Women International Facebook page to read fascinating stories about inspiring women.

What woman has most inspired you? You are welcome to post her name and what makes her life significant to you on our MW USA Facebook page.


Peace and blessings, 


Mennonite Women USA staff 

A Prayer for Lent 

by Ruth Lapp Guengerich


God of creation,

your only Son came that we might have life.

      We confess that we take this sacrifice so for granted.

      We take for granted your love and forgiveness,

            No matter our sins.

As we prepare for a week of walking with Jesus

      on the journey of celebration into Jerusalem,

      through an insane trial,

           and as we observe the fearfulness of his disciples,

      we confess our weak spirits
            and readiness to look away from injustices.

Forgive us our sins,

      bring us not into a time of trial,

            and deliver us from the Evil One.

For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever and ever.    Amen 


Ruth Lapp Guengerich, recently retired as co-director for MW USA, lives in Goshen, IN and is working on her bucket list for the next couple decades of life.

A Heartfelt Thank You to Ruth Lapp Guengerich

At the MW USA board meeting in February, board and staff expressed their gratitude to Ruth for her four years of service as co-director.  

Alma Ovalle is pictured giving Ruth a gift
of a circle of women 
from the board and staff. (Ruth also received golf balls; wonder what she'll do with those?)



At the PREP meeting, co-director Rhoda Keener thanked Ruth for four good years of working together - noting especially how Ruth connected MW USA with the Women in Leadership project, empowered younger women, and enabled the growth of the Sister Care ministry.   


MW USA wishes Ruth a joyous retirement and thanks her for sharing her gifts with MW USA for these years!

Marlene Harder Bogard will begin as MW USA Executive Director in April and Jenny Castro serves as Women in Leadership Coordinator
for Mennonite Church USA.
Priscilla Formigari Ramos, left and Ellen Cristina dos Santos with their Portuguese Sister Care manuals.

PREP 2015 :: March 6-7

Women from around the USA attended the PREP resource-gathering meeting in Sarasota. Attendees welcomed Marlene Bogard . Marlene invited women to ask her 20 Questions as a way of introducing herself.  Jenny Castro shared her vision for this work. 


Carolyn Heggen and Rhoda Keener, Sister Care presenters, provided a one-day workshop training participants to facilitate Sister Care Study Groups using the DVD and Facilitator Guide. Three women from Canada joined for the Sister Care training.

Curitiba, Brazil

Sister Care event makes sure Brazil isn't forgotten

"When Deusilene Milhomen and Valeria Alvarenga attended a Sister Care seminar in Bolivia in 2013, they began to dream of bringing the resource to their home country of Brazil. This meant translating the Sister Care manual into Portuguese..."


Read the full article in the Mennonite Weekly Review.


Mennonite Women Rock, Leap and Fly :: March 6-7, 2015 


Conference women leaders from around the USA gathered in Sarasota, Florida for a time of preparing, resourcing, encouraging and praising (PREP). It was a time to learn more about what MW USA has to offer, network with other leaders, laugh and pray together.
After the meetings ended on Saturday, the women spent the evening at the beach for fun and relaxation.

Sister Care DVD & Facilitator Guide Now Available!

The Sister Care seminar is now available on DVD with 12 sessions for small groups, retreats, or Sunday school classes. An easy to use 40-page facilitator's guide written by Rhoda Keener and Carolyn Heggen accompanies the DVD.

Each DVD session taught by Carolyn Heggen or Rhoda Keener averages 12-15 minutes in length with total viewing time of 166 minutes. The facilitator's guide offers suggested scripture, songs, and additional questions and activities for participants. Each participant will need a Sister Care: Equipping Women for Caring Ministry manual. See trailer.


Under the direction of Jerry Holsopple, Communications and Visual Arts professor at Eastern Mennonite University, three communications students produced this video as their senior project. In January 2013 Anne Diller, Erica Garber, and Alyshia Zimmerman (pictured at right) filmed Carolyn and Rhoda teaching the four Sister Care units. Then they combined their expertise to produce this resource. A grant from United Service Foundation funded the project.


Sister Care resources are currently available from the MW USA office and soon to be available for purchase on our website (stay tuned).*

DVD + Facilitator Guide: $25

DVD + Facilitator Guide + Sister Care participant manual package: $30

Sister Care manuals:  
1-4 - $10 each
5-9 - $ 9 each

More than 10 - $ 8 each

*Shipping costs additional


Read more about this exciting resource plus testimonials from Sara Wenger Shenk, Meghan Good, Elizabeth Soto Albrecht and Marlene Harder Bogard.


Sister Care for College Women

A college women's pilot Sister Care seminar is scheduled for March 20-21 at Goshen College with a second seminar planned for the fall semester. Beth Martin Birky, professor of Women's and Gender Studies and MW USA board
Maddie Birky and Ellen Conrad at the
2014 Goshen College Sister Care focus group.
member, is coordinating these pilot events. 

In spring 2014, Carolyn Heggen, Rhoda Keener, and Ruth Guengerich met with a campus women's focus group to discern whether to bring the seminar to Goshen College. Students identified areas of challenge they face as college students and highlighted specific areas of interest. 

The upcoming seminar will integrate Sister Care materials with the following themes:
  • Self-worth and body image issues
  • Skills to recognize and manage personal stress
  • Life purpose to facilitate decision making
  • Supportive relationships and mentoring

Timbrel Highlights  

 "Like many other forms of crafts and DIY projects, crocheting and creating something by hand is very meaningful in itself beyond the end product.


"Especially as we crochet, we are always reminded of how God is creating our inmost being; God knit us together in our mother's wombs (Psalms 139:13)."

Read Aveani Moeljono's full article in the current issue of  Timbrel magazine.


IWF Spotlight 
Priyanka Bagh


"I have the gift of teaching, and thus, want to be a professor. I aspire to do a Doctorate Degree, with which I would like to teach in a theological college, take training seminars, preaching and add with this skill to the Mennonite Church in India."
The Kitchen Table
Pam Risser
from The Burning Bush
, Franklin Mennonite Conference newsletter 


" 'In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,

Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone.'


"These cold, frosty days of winter bring to mind the opening lines of the Christmas carol by Christina Georgina Rossetti, 'In the Bleak Mid-winter.'  ...The woodstove struggles to heat the air in the room around me ..."


"Sometimes, a single act can have enormous consequences.

"In the religious ferment of 16th century Europe, a small group of Christians in the Swiss canton of Zurich gathered in a home on a wintry January day, 1525. One of them, George Blaurock, asked another, Conrad Grebel, to baptize him. Around the circle they went, baptizing each other in what they understood to be their first truebaptism. It was a baptism performed upon their confession of faith in Jesus as Lord. It was a radical act that earned many of them a martyrs' death.


"The 16th century was a time of great change in the religious life and practices of many in Western Europe. A variety of voices from within the church were advocating for change. They were frequently critical of practices and theology that had developed over many centuries of church life."

Calling All Survivors :: Hilary Scarsella Invites Collaboration

"The wisdom you've gathered along your journey of healing can help transform the ways we think about God and faith. I invite you to contribute to a collaborative project that takes the experiences of survivors as important sources for doing theology (i.e. thinking about God in ways that breathe love and life into all).

"I'm working on my PhD in theology at Vanderbilt University, and I'm doing this work because I want to make space for the voices of survivors to reshape the systems of belief that define communities of faith. Over the next few years, I'll be seeking out survivors' theological wisdom on a number of themes, and right now I'd like to invite anyone who is interested to talk to me about your thoughts on Jesus - his life, death, resurrection, and his significance in your own story of harm and/or healing."


"In Isaiah we are told that God's chosen ones became a wild vine because Israel didn't obey; but God also promised that a few who believed would be preserved. From those remnants would come the choicest of vines-our Savior Jesus Christ. 'I am the true vine. My Father is the gardener.' (John 15:1).


"I am one of his cherished branches and his fruit of the spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control will grow within me as I let Christ fill me. It's not always pleasant to be pruned, but I am developed in character by the pruning, tending, feeding, watering, and nurturing that he has done to me. Because of this process, I am now better prepared to care for others."

Give to Mennonite Women USA

Giving to MW USA online is so easy! Give today...transform tomorrow...
2015 Sister Care seminars
  • Goshen College pilot for college women :: March 20-21
  • Kalona, Iowa :: April 17-18
  • Chicago, Illinois (Lombard) :: May 15-16
  • MC USA Kansas City convention workshops :: June 30-July 5
    • Sister Care: Level II
    • Sister Care: DVD resource
  • Mennonite World Conference workshops :: July 21-26
    • Sister Care: Global Contextualization and Testimonials
    • Explore Sister Care International
  • NEW - SAVE THE DATE :: Sister Care Level 2 :: Camp Hebron,
    Halifax, Pennsylvania :: October 2-4
  • Goshen College pilot for college women :: October 9-10
  • Atlantic Coast Conference, Pennsylvania :: Compassionate Care for pastoral care leaders and teams :: October 23
  • Cuba :: November
2016 Sister Care seminars
  • Newton/Hesston, Kansas :: January 29-30
  • Kenya :: April
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba :: May 13-14
From The Mennonite 
No more milestones on Facebook
by Jessica Schrock Ringenberg

Libby Ringenberg's first year of life was chronicled on Facebook. I stopped posting my children's developmental milestones on Facebook. I come from a large close-knit family, who I never get to see. Imagine my excitement when I realized that Facebook would enable me to keep my family updated on how my first child was growing ... 

Read more.

Gifts to honor and remember

Mennonite Women USA invites persons to share financially to support this ministry. Individuals are invited to give in honor of, or in memory of, significant people in their lives. We recognize that each gift honors or remembers a relationship.



Reflect on these words of a hymn in Hymnal: A Worship Book, #251 as we progress to Holy Week.


"How shallow former shadows seem beside this great reverse, as darkness swallows up the light of all the universe. Creation shivers at the shock, the temple rends its veil. A pallid stillness stifles time and nature's motions fail."            


Peace to you this Lenten season.   

Berni, Claire, Rhoda


Mennonite Women USA
718 N. Main Street // Newton, KS 67114 // 316-281-4396